Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz on Saturday reacted to the accusations made by Afghanistan and India at the Heart of Asia Conference and said that it is ‘simplistic” to blame one country for violence and terrorism. At the conference, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had hit suggested that Pakistan was “sponsoring and supporting terrorism”.
“The security situation in Afghanistan is very complex. It is simplistic to blame only one country for the recent upsurge in violence. We need to have an objective and holistic view,” Aziz was quoted as saying by PTI.
Earlier in the day, Aziz had said Islamabad was willing to commence talks on India’s concerns over terrorism in the region, The Indian Express reported. Aziz said there would not be any discussions on bilateral issues, including the Kashmir dispute, as it “was not the right forum”.
Aziz told The Sunday Express, “If India shows any interest, I would certainly like to meet. I don’t think we need to request for a meeting.” Aziz said peace was a priority for Pakistan. He said, “If we don’t have structured dialogue, then the dialogue through media increases hostility and negative perceptions.”
His statements follow reports that there would not be bilateral talks between the two countries on the sidelines of the conference. Unidentified officials said the conference would release a final draft that specifies counter-terrorism measures and included a “tough section” that would put pressure on Pakistan to be more assertive on the matter.
Forty countries are participating in the conference that aims to assist Afghanistan transition from the effects of war. An official said the “threat of terrorism, terror sanctuaries, funding, drug trafficking and increasing radicalisation” would dominate the discussions,” Hindustan Times reported.
At the previous edition of the conference, India and Pakistan had agreed to start a “Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue” to resolve outstanding disputes between the two countries, according to IANS. The resumption of talks did not take place because of the Pathankot attack in January.
Relations between Islamabad and New Delhi have worsened following the Indian Army’s surgical strikes on militant camps along the Line of Control on September 29. On November 24, Swarup had said Pakistan violated the ceasefire agreement between the two countries 27 times between November 12 and November 21.